Steve Borden, Sr. (born March 20, 1959), better known by the ring name Sting, is an American retired professional wrestler, actor, author and former bodybuilder signed to WWE under a Legends contract. Sting is known for his time spent as the public face of two major professional wrestling promotions: the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which displaced the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) as the leading professional wrestling organization in the United States from 1995 to 1998; and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Borden is regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, having cultivated a legacy over a career spanning more than three decades during which has had a total of 14 major world championship reigns in WCW and TNA.
Sting’s 14-year tenure with WCW and its predecessor, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), began in 1987. Dubbed “The Franchise of WCW”, he held a total of 15 championships in the promotion – including the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on six occasions, the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions, and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on one occasion – and made more pay-per-view (PPV) appearances for the company than any other wrestler. Sting has been described as the WCW counterpart to the WWF’s Hulk Hogan; against Hogan, he headlined the highest-grossing PPV event in WCW history at Starrcade in 1997. Upon the acquisition of WCW by the WWF in March 2001, Sting and his long-term rival Ric Flair were chosen to perform in the main event of the final episode of Nitro.
Following the expiration of his contract with WCW’s parent company, AOL Time Warner, in March 2002, Borden held talks with the WWF but ultimately did not join the promotion, instead touring internationally with World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) – winning the WWA World Heavyweight Championship – before joining the then-upstart TNA in 2003. Over the following 11 years, he won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on one further occasion and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship four times, and was the inaugural inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame in 2012. He is the only man to hold the NWA, WCW, (WWA additionally) and TNA world championships in a career. Previously described by WWE as the greatest wrestler never to have performed for that promotion, Sting finally joined the company in 2014, making his first appearance at Survivor Series and having his debut match at WrestleMania 31 the following year. His last ever bout, at Night of Champions in 2015, marked his sole pay-per-view main event and WWE World Heavyweight Championship contest (and title match) for the organization. Sting headlined the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2016 on April 2, where he announced his retirement. His induction renders him the only performer to be inducted into both the WWE and TNA Hall of Fame, as well as the second man to be inducted while an active WWE wrestler, after Ric Flair.
Sting held 25 total championships throughout his career, including 21 between WCW and TNA. Readers of Pro Wrestling Illustrated named him “Most Popular Wrestler of the Year” on four occasions, a record he shares with John Cena. Slam! Sports wrote that Sting holds “a lofty level of prestige that few will ever touch”. In 2016, he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.